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Choosing the Right Look for a Retaining Wall That Will Be Part of Your Brick Patio Design in Hinsdale, IL
Retaining walls are often thought of as purely utilitarian features. However, retaining walls can serve as important focal points with just as much beauty and character as your patio. The trick is to choose complementary or contrasting wall materials that help the wall become part of the design and not an afterthought. Here are our tips for choosing the right look for a retaining wall that will be part of your brick patio design in Hinsdale, IL.
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Many factors can go into selecting the right wall materials including size, shape, color, and texture. Regarding budget, most manufacturers will have several price tiers of wall units, with similar appearances - so you can get the look you want, at a budget that works for you.
Modern retaining walls are typically made with a core of stacked concrete blocks and faced with a brick, natural stone, or manufactured stone veneer. This is the case with light-duty retaining walls shorter than four feet tall. Larger heavy-duty structural retaining walls are typically made with full-sized wall blocks that can weigh 50-75 pounds each and they must be designed by a licensed engineer to ensure they can withstand the tremendous weight and pressure of the soil they are holding back.
When it comes to design, the choice of wall units to pair with a brick patio is a personal one, depending on the look you want to achieve. The main thing to remember is that the best look will be achieved using slightly or dramatically different materials, rather than the same materials. In other words, avoid brick for your wall units next to a brick patio which can quickly become tiring to look at. A better option is to choose materials that bring out the best in each other, whether it’s a slight difference or a striking one.
Here are some ideas:
1. Smooth retaining wall blocks alongside textured patio pavers such as brick (contrasting textures)
While brick pavers are not highly textured, due to their small size, they are visually textured (especially if you are using contrasting jointing sand). A beautiful modern look could be achieved by embracing the contrast and using oversized plank-style wall blocks in a smooth texture.
2. Lightly textured retaining wall blocks alongside a brick patio (similar textures):
Lightly textured wall units could look like tumbled quarry stone. This look is in keeping with an easygoing casual/rustic atmosphere: a low-maintenance carefree style that invites you to enjoy the space without worrying about fussy materials. Choose lightly textured wall units that are larger to give the wall a substantial look.
Also factor in laying patterns. If you’re using classic bricks (whether clay or concrete) they will likely be laid in a running bond, herringbone, or basket weave pattern on your patio. The best results will come by using a simple pattern on the wall, such as a running bond (which will also simplify the installation) - no matter what the laying pattern you are using on the patio.
Relatively busy laying patterns on the patio will look best when complemented with simplicity, and using larger format wall units to create visual balance.
Choosing colors is just as important as choosing textures.
Opt for complementary or contrasting colors, and avoid the same tones for the most pleasing results. This will give each element its own distinct character.
Whether you highlight the retaining wall by making it lighter than the surrounding brick patio or give it a dramatic presence with darker tones, the color will draw you in and say, “this wall is important.”
Related: The 5 Benefits of Having a Retaining Wall Near Your Driveway in Naperville, IL